I sure appreciated this post by Sam Powell, “How Does God See Me?” He really captures the concept of grace, how our own works are really but filthy rags.
Here is the essence of that idea, “It isn’t how much I persevered or how tightly I held on. It isn’t about the strength of my faith or the purity of my faith. It is about the strength and purity of my savior. With my empty hands, I cling to him.”
I had a real flaw as a kid, meaning well into my 20’s-30’s. I thought love had to be earned and it never really could be. It was unattainable because the standard was too high and I was too unworthy. That didn’t stem from my relationship with the Lord at all, that came from my parents, mostly my mother. So I became a real people pleaser, trapped somewhere between trying to lay down on the railroad tracks to please people, and total defiance, just throwing in the towel, to heck with it, you can never please anyone anyway, so you got to please yourself.
The desire to meet some standard did not make me a better person at all, it left me vulnerable to abuse and exploitation from other people, or else flailing around trapped somewhere in defiance and rebellion.
The Lord was always whispering, “Stop, that’s not me. Here, take my hand…” One thing that really cements my faith is that Still Quiet Voice that has said so many times, “this is all you know, but this is all wrong.” That Voice is not me, I was kind of a clueless Babe in Toyland. When everything you’ve seen suggests that love must be earned, how would you ever know that’s all wrong, that’s not the Lord’s heart for you?
To this day my poor mama still works on that principle, you aren’t good enough, you aren’t worthy, you’re bad. Hide, someone’s going to see how you really are and not love you anymore. Just this never ending cycle of shame and pride. What’s different today is that it’s not about me anymore, today it’s about her, it’s about realizing that is how she lives, that is the world she is trapped in. That was not the Lord’s heart for me, and that is is not the Lord’s heart for her.
It’s really scary to stand before God, naked, deeply flawed and all, at our worst, and to receive His grace. It is disconcerting to say the least. It leaves you vulnerable, at His mercy, powerless, and totally dependent on Him. Surrender is not so easy. God doesn’t love us because we’re good, He loves us because we are His. Just as I love my children flaws and all, He loves His.
Bit funny, my mother is a stubborn woman, she’d drive a saint half crazy, and she has, more than a few of them. The other day she plugged the sink, left the water running, flooded the floor, ran to get bucket and just happened to grab one full of holes. It was a real mess, made all the worse from her panicked response.
Mama, the Father’s heart for you in the midst of that mess is my heart for you, too. We don’t care about the water on the floor, the flooded kitchen, the mess you’ve made, we just want you to reach out and take our hand….